Recommended reading for undergraduates majoring in CS:
- Communications of the ACM - general
overview of cutting edge CS research issues and projects
(ACM offers student memberships, at lower costs)
- Queue - also an ACM magazine, with
more emphasis on topics for the computing professional (less on research projects)
- XRDS - ACM magazine specifically for
undergraduates, so more articles on careers and finding jobs
- IEEE Spectrum - news for the
professional in electrical engineering or computing, very well respected
(IEEE Computer Society offers student memberships, at lower costs)
- Economist - general world news.
Periodically they publish a
with articles on new-in-tech subjects - what will change the world in the near
future? (Economist articles are accessible via our library's digital subscriptions.)
SANS NewsBites - computer security
news summaries (by the SANS Institute)
('Hidden Figures' is also a good book. But since they made a movie out of it,
you've probably already heard of it.)
- "Blown to Bits" by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis (2008)
- 'Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet' by Andrew Blum (2013) : A journalist's tour of the physical parts of the internet -- the facilities where internet exchanges are housed, watching an undersea fiber cable headed for Africa being connected to on-land cables in Portugal, etc.
- "The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive" by Brian Christian (2012)
- "Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions" by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths (2017) : ever wondered if there was an algorithm to help you marry? Well, now you can know.
- "The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies" by Jason Fagone (2017) : the life of a woman who cracked codes used by smugglers, rum runners, and WWII spies. Also includes dramatic tales of WWII spies manipulating South American politics, eccentric millionaires, the founding
of the NSA, and so on.
- "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet" by Katie Hafner (1998) :
the story of the start of the Arpanet (the Internet before it became the Internet).
Don't be put off by when the book was published (1998); it was researched and written when many of the people who did the work were still alive to be interviewed.
- "Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us,
from Missiles to the Moon to Mars" by Nathalia Holt (2017) : stories of
some of the women who worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in southern California,
doing the math that makes rocket science possible, before and after computers came on the scene. An especially fun read for those who grew up in California and recognize
the landmarks mentioned.
- "Soul of a New Machine" by Tracy Kidder (1981) : Pulitzer Prize-winning look at the story behind
bringing a microcomputer to market
- "Spam Nation: the inside story of organized cybercrime -- from global epidemic to your front door" by Brian Krebs (2014): a wide-ranging look at cybercrime, including interviews with many criminals. Warning: interviews include some profane language.
- "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud (1994): A non-fiction book (in graphic novel form) about two-dimensional, serialized story-telling. A must-read for future web and game developers.
- "9 Algorithms that Changed the Future" by John MacKormick (2013): just what the title says. Very nice, easy to understand explanations of the algorithms and their real-world significance. (short book, too)
- "The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone" by Brian Merchant (2017): a recounting of the brief history of the iPhone so far, plus explorations (literal explorations - Mr Merchant visited the locations) of where the pieces come from
- "Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II" by Liza Mundy (2018): stories of young women who spent WWII serving in code-breaking facilities, and of the effects of their efforts on WWII. Much of their work was classified until relatively recently.
- "Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors" by Matt Parker (2020) : Amusing tales of (alarmingly) many real world errors and disasters caused by lack of understanding of math, frequently math as built into software
- "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil (2017) : (No actual math in the book, I promise. The scary part is in how we choose to use the math...)
- "The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography" by Simon Singh (1999) - fascinating history of cryptography, full of juicy historical details
- "Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon" by Kim Zetter (2015): slightly scary story of Stuxnet and those tracking down its source and causes